Go back Jack and do it again

Question 30a on the March 13 ballot will determine if we rerun the fiasco of 5 years ago or not.

Do you support restoration of Brewster Memorial Hall to serve as Town Offices?

It’s arguable whether everyone understood the warrant article that appropriated $500,000 to fund the Town Hall Restoration Committee, but nothing could be planer than this question.  Although non-binding, you can bet that the Selectmen will run with an affirmative indication from the voters.

Lets take a look at what happened the last time.  The Town Hall Restoration Committee was formed and chaired by one of the five Selectmen.  One other sitting Selectman was also a member.  Several interested citizens stepped forward, as well as an AIA Architect and a citizen with direct experience doing restoration work in New York.

After a few months of work, both the architect and the experienced restoration person quit.  Another member of the Board of Selectmen commented at a BOS meeting that the committee was doing wonderful work.  I attended as a member of the town Energy Committee until one of the Selectman members told me that I wasn’t allowed to request information.

When the estimate came in at $6.8 million, all of the Selectmen voted approval of the project and they put on a full court press to sell it at the Deliberative session, including a mock-up New Hampshire Crossroads video that the Friends paid Fritz Weatherbee to produce.

With a resounding defeat of 56% opposed, the Selectmen have never admitted to mishandling the affair, and continue to insist that a handful of troublemakers are ruining it for everyone.

They say that history repeats itself.  Let’s hope not.

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One Response to Go back Jack and do it again

  1. John Linville says:

    A local person has submitted this letter to the Editor to be in next week’s Grunter. The person told me to post it here as there is probably no chance Beeler will run it. It is, I believe, indicative of how a lot of people feel in our town.
    I couldn’t agree more! John

    From: Kathy Giebutowski
    Subject: I am sending this to the Grunter today.

    Yesterday, we received a letter from the Friends of Wolfeboro Town Hall. The letter asks that we continue to vote to spend more money for the vision of this group of folks.
    First of all, they should really be called the Friends of Brewster Hall, not the Friends of Wolfeboro Town Hall. In my mind these two issues should be separate. The idea of preserving/repairing a historic building in the center of town has justification. Stubborn insistence by this group and the Board of Selectmen that this remain the Town Hall does not make sense to me. The fact that these two groups are not able to separate their jobs/missions troubles me.
    As I see it, the job of the Board of Selectmen is to make the best decisions for the expenditure of taxpayer dollars not only today but for any purchase that has an impact on the future expenses of the town. In my mind, that means buying the most up to date energy efficient building with easy access for the aging population of this town. Many individuals have said that a municipal complex with easy access to many town services makes the most sense and would get us the most bang for the buck.
    The “Friends of Brewster Hall” should have been exploring any and all options to preserve the building. Instead they have spent many years pursuing one course of action. During this time, to my knowledge, they have not found any major donors, either private or corporate, to support their efforts. That seems to have left them with only one choice, keep trying to get the taxpayers to buy into their plan.
    If their real objective is to preserve the building, then they should stop stubbornly holding to only one solution. Ask the Board of Selectmen to put the building up for sale. Then we will know if there is really any group out there interested in doing a Historic Renovation of the building. Because the building is on the Register of Historic Properties, renovation guidelines would be in place and there is a good chance everyone would end up with a better solution than having the town muddle through this piece by piece.
    Please join me in voting against Article 19 until all options have been explored.

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